Graphic Novels: “Real Books” or not?

Graphic Novels have not always been as prevalent in the mainstream. The first graphic novels seem to have become a part of the comic word during the late 1980’s but did not become a subsection in mainstream bookstores until 2001. Same can be said for Manga which did not become prevalent in the United States until mid-way through the 90’s and a section in mainstream bookstores until the 2000’s as well. So it begs the question, can either of these be considered “real books”?

During my teen years I could never write off a graphic novel or manga as a finished book for my reading classes. Most often I was told that they were 20% actual writing and 80% drawings, it didn’t count towards my expansion of reading knowledge.

But what makes a book a book? Is it the length of the written aspect or technical terms we learned (dialogue, plot, characterization, metaphor, motif, theme, etc)?

How would you describe a children’s book? A book mostly composed of colorful pictures with very little written words. These are considered without a real discussion that these are books albeit specifically for those who have a young reading level. If that is the next issue with graphic novels is that the reader’s are often older and should be reading something more word dens. If this is why graphic novels cannot be considered books, why do we put so much pressure on others and ourselves to read things more suited to our age?

In the end, it should be left up to the reader. If they don’t want to consider graphic novels “real books” that is up to them as long as they understand why they think that. As for every one else, well, go ahead and be a grumpy adult about it.


Thoughtful Tuesday: Can Books Come Between People?

Have you ever judged someone for what they read?

It was as prevalent in the English department as the hipster style choices. There were two types of prejudices that ran rampant. Firstly there were those that judged if you weren’t reading the most indie and obscure books. The irony of this prejudice was that many of those who judged their classmates were often times not well-versed in the books of the past. How can we consider the thoughts and contents of books now if we don’t know where we as readers and writers came from?

The other type of prejudice were the strictly readers of old. They treated any book published after 1950 as nothing more than trivial trash. If you were to be considered a true scholar of the written word you must read only the worlds and thoughts of those long dead. But how can a reader only be curious about the old without seeing the truth of the new and the current times?

This elaborate set-up leads into the question of the morning: can a book come between people? I believe that it is possible. There are people as aforementioned who have allowed reading choice to divide a class, but what about friends or couples?

It is easy to write off someone we barely know who refuses to read or refuses to read the types of books we enjoy but what about a friend?

Imagine your good friend finally confesses that though she likes to read she barely reads and when she does it is mass paperback romance novels. Or even worse, someone you have been dating for months confesses that they find the act of reading rather tedious and boring. How can either situation be handled as easily as a first meeting or date and finding out this kind of information?